CBKB: Connecticut still No. 1; Vermont back in Top 25
AP Basketball Writer
Vermont's back in the Top 25 for the first time in 17 years.
The Catamounts were ranked 24th in The Associated Press women's basketball poll, their first trip there since spending 11 straight weeks ranked in 1993.
Connecticut again was the unanimous choice as the top team, receiving 40 first-place votes from a national media panel Monday. It's the 35th straight week the Huskies are No. 1, and they moved within one of the record set by Louisiana Tech from 1980-82.
Stanford remained No. 2 while Tennessee and Notre Dame flipped places. The Irish dropped to fourth after their 70-46 loss to Connecticut on Saturday. Ohio State rounded out the first five.
The Huskies will try for their 57th straight win Monday night at No. 6 Duke.
UConn (17-0) has the second longest streak in women's basketball history and only trails the NCAA and school record 70 straight victories set from 2001-03. The Huskies have been at their best against top-10 teams during the streak, winning those 10 games by nearly 27 points a game
"The gap is huge," Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw said. "I think that they are on a mission to prove that gap is wider and wider with every game. They've had their way with the top 10, even Stanford. They are the best team in the country, no question about it."
One of the teams UConn has beaten during its streak is Vermont (14-3). The Catamounts' only other two losses this season were against Oklahoma State and Nebraska.
"It's a great feeling and I'm happy for the kids," said Vermont coach Sharon Dawley. "We have a phenomenal group of young ladies who work really hard. The seniors want to end their careers on the best note possible and this is a great accomplishment to add to their resume."
The Catamounts play at Boston University on Monday night and Dawley planned to tell her team before the game about their ranking, but figured they'd already know.
"They don't miss a trick," Dawley said. "We'll use this as a confidence builder, but know that the target grows a little bigger on us."
Nebraska climbed four spots to seventh after winning at Baylor on Sunday. The Cornhuskers (16-0) are one of three unbeaten teams left, with Connecticut and Wisconsin-Green Bay. It's the first time Nebraska has ever been in the top 10.
Georgia dropped two places to eighth after suffering its first loss of the season, 66-44 to Vanderbilt. Texas A&M was ninth, followed by Baylor, Xavier and Oklahoma State. The Cowgirls beat Kansas and Kansas State to move up three spots to the school's highest ranking ever.
Oklahoma was 13th and North Carolina dropped four spots to 14th, its lowest mark since being No. 16 on Feb. 16, 2004.
Florida State was followed by West Virginia, winners of 15 straight, and Wisconsin-Green Bay (16-0) at No. 17. LSU dropped six spots to 18th after losing by nine to Mississippi on Sunday, and Georgetown jumped five spots to 19th. The Hoyas were followed by Texas.
Vanderbilt, Georgia Tech, TCU, Vermont and Virginia round out the poll. The Lady Commodores vaulted back into the poll at No. 21 after beating Georgia and losing a close game to Tennessee on Sunday. Michigan State and Miami fell out of the ranking.